Although the best advice for new parents is to lay their babies 'back to sleep, front to play', baby gyms and playmats are hugely popular. It's understandable; in those first few months a baby can't do a great deal except look at the world around her and gradually start to explore with her fingers and hands. At this time, a playmat is a lovely soft place to let her rest whilst hanging tinkling toys above her and providing bright images around her on the mat itself.
There are many different styles on the market, but we love the Bright Stars PlayPlace for its flexibility, and its use beyond six-to-nine months, when babies begin to move around and sit up – by which time many baby gyms are limited in their appeal.
The Baby PlayPlace
At first, the bright, soft playmat is ideal for 'tummy-time' or for rest periods when your new child lays in one place. As she begins to move around a bit, you can position the sides of the mat so they turn up, creating a safe haven your baby can't roll out of.
These 'walls' are 22 centimetres high, creating a gentle barrier, and can be reconfigured so you can have some sides up or down depending on preference and where you are (at home, at a friend's, even at the park or beach).
Visual stimulii and crinkly flaps to lift allow small fingers and eyes to explore the PlayPlace's base, encouraging your child to enjoy time laying on her front, as well as rollover fun with the toys which hang of the arches.
The toys include a mirror safely encased within a soft body, so your child can see her reflection, a teether, an 'Electronic Lighted Lady Bug' which lights up and plays sweet melodies, and a rattle.
The Bright Stars Baby PlayPlace has an RRP of £69.99 and is available from several stockists, including Amazon and Mothercare. For more information, call 0870 351 7286.